Is it enough to only dismiss a parastatal board for abuse of office?


One of the biggest problems Zimbabwe is currently facing is the breakdown of the rule of law. I am not talking about the rule of law as defined by Western countries vis-à-vis Zimbabwe but simply the fact people are doing as they please because no one enforces the law.

You can loot a parastatal, sell people non-existent housing stands, tax commuter drivers or drive on the wrong side of the road but no one will arrest you. This is what I mean.

There is no way Zimbabwe can recover in the midst of this chaos. Someone must put a stop to this lawlessness. And that someone can only be the government.

 I was quite disturbed when Information Communication Technology Minister Supa Mandiwanzira announced last week that the board for the Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority had been dissolved with immediate effect because of “rancid corruption, gross abuse of financial resources and poor corporate governance”.

Mandiwanzira said the board had spent $249 219 on travel expenses and per diems since its appointment. This amount, he added, was enough to buy 1 246 computers to computerise more than 30 schools, a mandate which the board had.

He cited other abuses like someone spending 22 days in South Korea instead of just one week.

I asked myself, so was Mandiwanzira telling the nation that just firing the board was enough? Why couldn’t those involved be asked to reimburse the parastatals the excess amount they had used or buy the computers for the 30 schools?

 If someone spent 22 days outside instead of seven days, why not simply ask him to pay back the expenses for the extra 15 days?

If I misuse state funds and all that I get is a dismissal, what stops others from doing the same thing?

We had cases of parastatals chief executives who were paying themselves salaries unheard of even in developed countries just being dismissed and that was it.

How can a nation that is struggling to pay junior employees tolerate a situation where one pays himself  a monthly salary equivalent to that of 613 junior employees, and just dismiss that employee for abuse of office and that is it?

Dismissing board members or even CEOs does nothing to address t he country’s economic woes. Something more deterrent should be done to stop this rot.

Let us not behave as if we have lots of money when we are begging all over. Those who misuse public funds must pay that money back or have their property confiscated and auctioned so that the nation can get back its money.

We have to do something that will deter others from misusing state funds. Urgently!


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Charles Rukuni
The Insider is a political and business bulletin about Zimbabwe, edited by Charles Rukuni. Founded in 1990, it was a printed 12-page subscription only newsletter until 2003 when Zimbabwe's hyper-inflation made it impossible to continue printing.


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